Top Tips and Recommendations to Reduce Scars after Breast Lift Surgery
Breast lift surgery (medically known as Mastopexy) is performed to reshape and lift sagging breasts. While this is a common procedure, it comes with the potential for scarring. With the right care and precautions, you can minimise breast lift scars over time. In this blog, Dr Jake Lim offers some top tips and recommendations to reduce scars post-breast lift surgery.
Dr Jake Lim is a specialist plastic surgeon with years of experience in the field of cosmetic surgery. He has performed many breast procedures, ranging from augmentations and reductions to lifts.
Dr Lim’s 2024 Breast Lift Guide
Scarring After Breast Lift Surgery
Before diving into the tips, it’s essential to understand why scarring occurs and the different types of scars that can form. When the skin is injured, the body’s natural response is to produce collagen to heal the wound. This collagen-rich tissue forms a scar. The appearance and size of the scar depend on various factors, including the size of the wound, its location, the individual’s age, genetics, and skin type.
There are several types of scars that can form after surgery:
- Hypertrophic Scars: These are raised scars that remain within the boundaries of the original wound. They may become redder and thicker over time but can improve with treatments
- Keloid Scars: Unlike hypertrophic scars, keloids grow beyond the boundaries of the wound. They can be itchy or painful and may continue to grow over time
- Atrophic Scars: These scars are sunken or pitted, resulting from a loss of tissue. They often occur in places where there is less underlying fat
- Contracture Scars: These scars pull the skin tight, which can restrict movement. They often form after a burn
Knowing the type of scar you have can help in choosing the right treatment and care.
Tips to Reduce Scars after Breast Lift Surgery
1. Follow Post-Operative Instructions
Always adhere to the post-operative instructions provided by Dr Lim. This includes guidelines on cleaning the incision site, changing dressings, and applying ointments. Proper wound care can significantly reduce the risk of infection and ensure the scar heals well.
- Why it’s crucial: The initial days after surgery are critical for scar prevention. By keeping the wound clean and free from infection, you reduce the chances of complications that can lead to more pronounced scarring
- Expert Tip: Your wound has a special glued on transparent tape (Prineo dressing) which will be left on for the first 3 weeks. This tape is waterproof so you can get it wet on the third day. After the Prineo dressing has been removed, you may use a soft cloth or sterile gauze to clean the area gently. Avoid scrubbing or using harsh chemicals, as these can irritate the skin and hinder the healing process. Vitamin E can then be used on the wounds after 3 weeks.
2. Avoid Sun Exposure
Direct sun exposure can darken the scar, making it more noticeable. Always apply sunscreen or cover the scarred area when stepping out in the sun, especially during the initial healing phase.
- Why it’s crucial: The sun’s UV rays can cause hyperpigmentation, making scars appear darker and more pronounced. This discolouration can be permanent if the scar is exposed to the sun frequently during the early stages of healing
- Expert Tip: Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Reapply every two hours, especially if you’re sweating or swimming
3. Silicone Gel Sheets
Silicone gel sheets have been shown to be effective in reducing the appearance of scars. They work by hydrating the scar tissue, which can help in softening and flattening the scar. Consult Dr Lim before using any such product to minimise scars after breast lift surgery.
- Why it’s crucial: Silicone creates a moist environment, which has been found to promote faster healing and reduce the appearance of scars. It also exerts gentle pressure on the scar, which can prevent raised scars like hypertrophic and keloid scars
- Expert Tip: For best results, wear the silicone gel sheet for at least 12 hours a day. It can be cut to fit the size of the scar and can be worn under clothing
4. Massage the Scar
Once the wound has completely healed, gentle massage can help in breaking down the scar tissue. It also increases blood flow to the area, promoting healing and reducing the scar’s appearance. Please check with Dr Lim before doing this.
- Why it’s crucial: Massaging the scar can help in increasing flexibility and reducing tightness. It also helps in redistributing the collagen fibres, making the scar softer and less noticeable
- Expert Tip: Use Vitamin E cream to massage the scar. Use gentle, circular motions and avoid applying too much pressure
5. Stay Hydrated and Maintain a Balanced Diet
Adequate hydration and a balanced diet play a crucial role in skin health. Drinking enough water and consuming foods rich in vitamins and minerals can aid in faster healing and reduced scar visibility.
- Why it’s crucial: Proper nutrition provides the body with the necessary building blocks to repair and regenerate tissue. Vitamins such as vitamin C and E play a vital role in collagen production, which is essential for wound healing and scar formation
- Expert Tip: Incorporate foods rich in antioxidants, like berries, nuts, and green leafy vegetables, into your diet. These can help combat free radicals that might hinder the healing process
6. Avoid Smoking
Smoking can impair the healing process, leading to more pronounced scarring. It’s essential to avoid smoking 8 weeks before and after the surgery to ensure optimal healing.
- Why it’s crucial: Nicotine constricts blood vessels, reducing the blood flow to the skin. This can delay wound healing and increase the risk of complications, leading to more noticeable scars
- Expert Tip: If you’re considering breast lift surgery, it’s an excellent opportunity to quit smoking. Not only will it benefit your scar healing, but it will also improve your overall health
7. Consider Scar Treatments to Minimise Scars after Breast Lift
There are various treatments available, such as laser therapy, microdermabrasion, and chemical peels, which can help in reducing the appearance of scars. Discuss these options with Dr Lim to determine the best course of action for your specific scar.
- Why it’s crucial: Some scars, especially keloids and hypertrophic scars, might not improve significantly with home care alone. Professional treatments can target the deeper layers of the skin, promoting collagen remodelling and improving the scar’s appearance
- Expert Tip: Always consult with Dr Lim before undergoing any scar treatments. Dr Lim can recommend the best treatment based on your scar type and skin condition
8. Stay Active, but Avoid Strenuous Activities
While it’s essential to get moving after surgery to promote blood circulation, avoid activities that can strain or stretch the incision site.
- Why it’s crucial: Excessive movement or tension on the healing wound can lead to widened or raised scars. It’s essential to strike a balance between staying active and allowing the wound to heal without disturbance
- Expert Tip: Gentle walks are encouraged in the days following surgery. However, activities like heavy lifting, running, or any exercise that puts pressure on the chest should be avoided until Dr Lim gives the go-ahead
9. Wear Supportive Clothing
After a breast lift surgery, wearing the right type of bra can make a significant difference in scar healing.
- Why it’s crucial: A supportive bra can help in reducing tension on the incision sites, preventing the scars from stretching. It also provides comfort and support to the healing breasts
- Expert Tip: Opt for a soft, wireless bra or a post-surgical compression garment. Ensure it fits well without being too tight or causing any chafing
10. Stay Positive and Patient
Healing is a gradual process, and scars will be reduced over time. It’s essential to stay positive and patient throughout the healing journey.
- Why it’s crucial: A positive mindset can influence the body’s healing process. Stress and anxiety can release hormones that might hinder healing, so staying optimistic can be beneficial
- Expert Tip: Consider joining a support group or connecting with others who have undergone similar procedures. Sharing experiences and tips can be comforting and helpful
11. Hydrate the Skin
Moisturising the scar can help keep the skin supple and reduce itchiness, which can be a common complaint as scars heal.
- Why it’s crucial: Dry skin can exacerbate the appearance of scars. Keeping the skin hydrated can help in improving its elasticity and appearance and even help minimise scars after breast lift
- Expert Tip: Opt for a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturiser. Apply it gently to the scarred area at least twice a day
12. Limit Alcohol Intake
While enjoying an occasional drink might not harm, excessive alcohol can impair the body’s healing process.
- Why it’s crucial: Alcohol can dehydrate the body and reduce blood flow to the skin, which can delay wound healing and increase the risk of more noticeable scars
- Expert Tip: If you choose to drink, do so in moderation. Ensure you’re also consuming plenty of water to stay hydrated
13. Sleep Well
Getting adequate rest and ensuring you sleep in a position that doesn’t put pressure on the incision site can aid in healing.
- Why it’s crucial: Sleep is when our body goes into repair mode. Ensuring you get quality sleep can speed up the healing process and reduce the appearance of scars
- Expert Tip: Consider sleeping on your back to avoid putting pressure on the breasts. Use pillows to prop yourself up and ensure comfort
14. Monitor for Signs of Infection
Infections can exacerbate scarring. It’s essential to be vigilant and monitor the incision sites for any signs of infection.
- Why it’s crucial: An untreated infection can lead to complications, prolonged healing, and more pronounced scarring
- Expert Tip: Look out for increased redness, swelling, warmth, or discharge from the incision sites. If you notice any of these signs or if the pain increases, contact Dr Lim immediately
15. Consider Natural Remedies
While it’s always essential to consult with Dr Lim before trying any remedies, some natural products like aloe vera, honey, and onion extract have been touted for their scar-reducing properties.
- Why it’s crucial: Natural remedies can offer a gentler approach to scar care, reducing the risk of skin irritation
- Expert Tip: Always do a patch test before applying any new product to the scar to ensure you don’t have an allergic reaction
16. Stay Informed
As medical research progresses, new treatments and products become available that can help reduce the appearance of scars.
- Why it’s crucial: Staying updated on the latest advancements can provide you with more options for scar care
- Expert Tip: Schedule regular follow-ups with Dr Lim. He can provide insights into any new treatments or products that might be beneficial for your scar type
FAQs about Scars after Breast Lift Surgery
How long will it take for my scars to fade after breast lift surgery?
- Scarring varies from person to person, but typically, scars from breast lift surgery will start to fade after a few months. Most scars will significantly lighten and become less noticeable within 6 to 12 months. However, it can take up to 2 years or more for some scars to mature fully and achieve their final appearance.
Will my scars be visible if I wear a bikini or low-cut top?
- The placement of incisions during a breast lift is usually done with discretion to minimise visible scarring. Most scars are located around the areola, vertically down from the areola to the breast crease, and horizontally along the breast crease. While some scars may be concealed within the natural contours of the breast, others might be slightly visible when wearing low-cut clothing or bikinis. Over time, as scars fade, they become less noticeable.
Are there any treatments I can undergo to further reduce the appearance of my scars?
- Yes, there are several treatments available to improve the appearance of scars. These include Vitamin E cream, silicone gel sheets, laser therapy, microdermabrasion, and chemical peels. It’s essential to consult with your plastic surgeon to determine the best treatment option for your specific scar type and condition.
Why do some people develop raise or keloid scars after surgery?
- Keloid and hypertrophic scars are the result of an overproduction of collagen during the healing process. Some individuals are genetically predisposed to develop these types of scars. Factors like skin type, age, genetics, and the location of the incision can influence the type of scar that forms. It’s crucial to monitor the healing process and consult with your plastic surgeon if you notice any abnormal or raised scarring.
Can I use over-the-counter scar creams to reduce the appearance of my scars?
- There are many over-the-counter scar creams available that claim to reduce the appearance of scars. Some may contain ingredients like silicone, vitamin E, which have been shown to have some benefits for scar healing.
Further Reading about Breast Surgery with Dr Jake Lim
- Read Dr Jake Lim’s Breast Lift with Implants Surgery Page
- Read Dr Jake Lim’s Breast Lift without Implants Surgery Page
- Read Dr Jake Lim’s Post Pregnancy Procedures
- Read Dr Jake Lim’s Blog about Breast Implant Options
- Read Dr Jake Lim’s Blog about Factors to Consider When Choosing the Bra after Breast Augmentation
- Read Dr Jake Lim’s Blog about Recovery after Breast Lift Surgery
- Read Dr Jake Lim’s Blog about Minimising Scars After Body Lift Surgery
- Read Dr Jake Lim’s Blog about Benefits of Silicone Tape after Plastic Surgery
Medical References about Breast Lift Surgery
- Breast lift – Mayo Clinic
- Breast Lift – ASPS
- Breast Lift (Mastopexy): Surgery & Recovery – Cleveland Clinic
About Dr Jake Lim
Highly qualified and experienced specialist plastic surgeon Dr Jake Lim focuses on facial plastic, cosmetic breast and body contouring after significant weight loss
Dr Lim creates the best possible plastic surgery results for his Australia-wide and international patients.
Dr Lim is passionate about making sure each and every patient has access to the right information about available treatments and procedures and is able to make well-informed decisions.
At My Klinik, patient safety, education and achieving optimal results are our top priorities.